How to Find the Best Medical Assistant Course Near Dothan Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enter the gratifying field of health care and enroll in a medical assistant school near Dothan AL, it's time to choose a college that will furnish the appropriate training. But just how do you go about comparing and evaluating colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most potential students start by evaluating the medical assistant schools that are closest to their homes and then lean toward those that have the lowest tuition. While cost and location are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may choose to take a look at a few online medical assistant programs as an option as well (more on that later). The main point is that before you select a college you need to carry out your due diligence and compare all pertinent qualifications of the colleges you are reviewing. And to help you with that process, we have furnished a few questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your "maybe" list. But before we start that review, let's talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
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The Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
So what do medical assistants do? These professionals typically work in Dothan AL physicians’ offices, hospitals, and outpatient care centers. They’re responsible for both clinical and administrative tasks, taking on varied responsibilities such as answering phones; managing appointment schedules; maintaining patient records; greeting patients; coding medical information; processing billing and bookkeeping; coordinating services with other healthcare providers; recording medical histories; collecting lab samples; cleaning examination rooms; and doing basic lab tests. Some of these healthcare professionals may even draw blood, administer medication, perform electrocardiograms, remove stitches, discard biohazardous waste, and change wound dressings. These duties vary based on experience, specialized training, certification, and even state of practice.
Medical Assistant Training
Compared to most other healthcare professionals, medical assistants are not required to become certified, licensed, or to have a college degree. However, many Dothan AL health care employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training school (more on accreditation later ) that are certified. There are essentially two options provided for a formal education. The first and shortest path to becoming a medical assistant is to earn a diploma or a certificate. These programs normally take about one year to complete, a few as little as six to nine months. They are created to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and ready graduates for entry level positions. The second alternative is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are usually 2 year programs available at community and junior colleges in addition to vocational and technical schools. They are more comprehensive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include general education courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical component requiring an internship with a local healthcare facility. Associate Degrees are routinely a pre-requisite for and credits can be applied to a 4 year Bachelor's Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
Certification Options for Medical Assistants
As previously mentioned, becoming certified is not a legal mandate, but is a good option for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in getting a job after graduation, but it might also help with initial salary negotiations. A number of potential Dothan AL medical employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not attained certification or accredited formal training. Among the most popular and arguably the most highly regarded certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to sit for the CMA examination, a candidate must have graduated or will graduate within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Alternative certifications are available also, for instance the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are provided by the NHA.
Medical Assistant Online Classes
There are numerous accredited medical assistant programs offered online too. They are an excellent choice for individuals who may not have the time to attend classes on campus but could work them in if attended at home. This is an especially good choice for students who continue to work full-time while attaining their degree or certificate. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools have lower tuitions than the more conventional on campus options. Supplemental costs such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies can be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for practical training or internships must still be satisfied, but they can often be carried out in Dothan AL area medical care facilities. If you can learn without the formal structure of going to supervised classes on-campus, then this mode of receiving your training might be the right choice for you. Between the online lessons and the clinical training, everything necessary to attain proficiency to work as a medical assistant is provided.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start examining your medical assistant school options, you must decide which kind of credential you would like to attain, and if you want to attend classes on campus or online from home. After those decisions have been made, you can start the process of researching medical assistant schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, some prospective students restrict their searches to the colleges that are nearest to Dothan AL with the cheapest tuition. Although cost and location are important qualifications, they are by no means the only ones. There are several additional considerations that you need to explore when evaluating programs. To help you with that task, below are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant College Accredited? There are many great reasons to confirm that the college you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps guarantee that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Second, if you intend to become certified, you need to enroll in an accredited program. Two of the approved agencies for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by one of these agencies, you will not be allowed to take the CMA exam. Also, if you intend on applying for a student loan or financial assistance, they are normally not offered for non-accredited programs. And last, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Dothan AL employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited school.
What is the School's Passing Percentage? The majority of accredited medical assistant schools design their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification examinations. First, you must find out which of the certifications the schools you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are planning on taking the CMA for instance, then naturally you will need to choose a program concentrating on that certification. Second, learn what the school's passage rate is for the certification and compare it to the national average. Doing this is just one of the means to help evaluate the quality of a college's program. Obviously programs with low rates are ones that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Credentials are Offered? As we previously covered, there are essentially two paths to getting medical assistant training. You can enroll in a certificate or diploma program and get entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, although the average is closer to 1 year. Or you can elect to earn an Associate Degree and get a more comprehensive education that will require about two years to accomplish in a junior college or vocational school. Whichever program you elect to pursue, confirm that the colleges you are looking at provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Available? Numerous medical assistant colleges sponsor internship programs with Dothan AL area health care providers. They are a great way to get hands-on clinical experience and training. They can also help students establish relationships within the Dothan medical community. And as an additional perk, they are an asset on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Getting that first job may be a daunting task for graduating medical assistant students unless they have a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance in the Dothan AL area and find out what their placement rate is. If a program has a high job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the medical community. It also signifies that it has a wide network of employers to help place students in jobs.
How Large are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive during your training. Small classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to furnish increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to attend a few classes before choosing a program to see what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students get.
Is Class Scheduling Practical? If you plan on attending a medical assistant program while you continue working full time, it's imperative that the school you enroll in offers classes that fit your schedule. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that those times are offered. You might be able to fit your classes in easier with an online college, but you will still need to schedule any internships or clinical training that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Right Dothan Medical Assistant Course
It's important to begin your new career on the right foot by enrolling in a medical assistant college that will furnish the appropriate training. Regardless if you're planning to begin a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to practice medical assistance as your lifetime career, you must obtain the appropriate info on available programs prior to making your decision. There are so many schools offering training these days that you can make a selection based on your individual circumstances and personal preferences. And as we have covered in this article, verify that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized organization, such as the CAAHEP. This is particularly critical if you plan on taking the CMA certification examination. But regardless of the type of credential that you intend to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an on-campus or online school, make sure to ask the questions we have provided so you can evaluate programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the ideal program you can subsequently start a fulfilling career as a medical assistant in Dothan Alabama.